The museum is reopening in phases, with only two floors initially, followed by further sections and galleries later in the month.

Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum gallery assistants pose, London, Britain, August 4, 2020.
Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum gallery assistants pose, London, Britain, August 4, 2020. (Reuters)

London's famed Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum reopens its doors to the public with hand sanitiser dispensers and protective screens.

Only mask-wearing visitors are allowed to tour and visit the museum's 5,000-year-old art and design history exhibits along with a few contemporary displays spread across only two floors.

Further sections of the V&A's 11.26 kilometres of galleries will reopen in phases later in the month.

Entry is free, but visitors are allowed in on a booking-only basis after months of coronavirus-enforced closure, marking another step in Britain's tentative economic and cultural reopening.

The museum features 250 years of European Renaissance art, a dazzling Islamic Middle East gallery, and five centuries of fashion from around the world.

"We want people to enjoy themselves again after all these months of looking at screens - to go and see an artefact for yourself, to stand in front of an object, that's what's so important," said museum director Tristram Hunt.

Longest closure in its history

"The V&A has been closed for 138 days, the longest period of closure in its history."

The 160-year-old museum, named after Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert, has been modified to meet the demands of social distancing regulations designed to prevent the spread of a Covid-19 pandemic that has killed more than 46,000 people in Britain alone.

Hand sanitiser dispensers have been dotted around the sprawling, mosaic-floored building. 

The gift shop and cafe have been equipped with protective screens.

"What we've all discovered is that it's relatively easy to close, but it's a lot more difficult to reopen," Hunt said.

"We've got the pubs open, we've got the football playing, that's great. But museums, galleries, schools, places where people can nurture their souls is really important."

READ MORE: Latest global Covid-19 updates

Source: Reuters